It’s no wonder camping is such a popular summertime activity in the Hudson Valley. Evenings are warm enough to comfortably sleep outside and immerse oneself in nature. Memories are made with family and friends that can last a lifetime. However, many campers are not aware of their impact on the environment and end up unintentionally harming it. Luckily, with these easy tips from Laura Neil, owner of Long Path Outfitters in Nyack and her guided hiking leaders at West Mountain Guide Co, campers can ensure they are leaving nature as they found it.
“When thinking about ‘green’ camping tips, it’s imperative to start with Leave No Trace Principles,” says Neil.
Plan Ahead and Prepare
First things first, you’ll need to find a designated campsite. This limits damage to the environment because people reuse the same land, rather than disrupting it everywhere. The Dyrt is a great app for finding campsite recommendations. In planning ahead for a trip, consider gear from companies that use sustainable materials and that offer repairs before replacements. Second-hand camping supplies are also a great green option.
Bring Low-Waste Food
Food choice is important when camping. Consider dehydrating your own food and buying in bulk to eliminate individually packaged snacks. When it comes to meals, check to see if packaging is recyclable, either directly or by a third party. You can always use empty resealable food packaging as trash bags instead of bringing additional plastic. If you’re planning on cooking, one-pot meals on a portable stove make for easy cleanup. Stoves also tend to be much easier on the environment than camp fires.
When Nature Calls, Dispose of Waste Properly
This includes knowing how to use the bathroom in the woods in a way that has the least impact on the environment, and is also sanitary. The rules are generally to find a spot at least 200 feet away from any water source, dig a hole 6-8 inches deep, and pack out used toilet paper. You may consider bringing a durable, brightly colored trowel that will help you dig a hole (and will be easy to find in the dark). Don’t forget the hand sanitizer!
Make sure to keep your distance from animals, take all garbage out with you, and leave as little impact on the land and water sources as possible. Respect the animals, land, and other campers, and you’ll be a green camping pro in no time.
By Rebecca Kelehan
Photos by Jack Sloop and Lexi Anderson
In addition to camping and hiking supplies, Long Path offers guided hikes led by the hiking leaders from West Mountain Guide Co. The day-hikes are a great way to learn camping tips and skills from the expert guides. This fall, they will be offering overnight trips.
Rebecca Kelehan is a freelance writer and content creator for Visit Nyack and ArtsRock. She also made two people and is their leader.